Top Ad
I DIG Radio
Listen live to the best music from around the world!
I DIG Style
Learn about the latest fashion styles and more...

MLB roundtable: Is the ball still juiced and other key home run questions for 2020

Written by 
Published in Baseball
Monday, 13 July 2020 05:20

Among all of the unknowns heading into the shortened 2020 campaign for Major League Baseball, one of the biggest is this: How much of an encore will even a 60-game season be on last season, the Year of the Home Run? With memories of 2019's exploding scoreboards and record rates of balls belted into the cheap seats, we asked three of our MLB insiders -- Bradford Doolittle, Sam Miller and David Schoenfield -- for their thoughts on what we should expect as far as big flies in an abbreviated season.

Predict how many total home runs will be hit in 2020

Bradford Doolittle: Let's say 2,238, or thereabouts. This estimate balances some regression for what's happened over the past five years, along with a wild guess at how the ball will play on contact this year, which is a big, fat unknown.

Sam Miller: I'm going to assume the full 60-game schedule gets played -- which, in actuality, I don't assume at all. But assuming that: 2,450, just a very small tick down from a prorated share of last year's total. August is typically the month with the most home runs, per game.

On the other hand, April is typically the month with the fewest. So part of the question is, does that put us on track for even more homers, because the whole season will be played in summer heat, in which baseballs travel farther? Or fewer, because it takes a few weeks for hitters to find their power stroke, and "a few weeks" is half of the 2020 season? I lean toward the former explanation and think we could have a lot of 14-9 games this year.

David Schoenfield: In 2019, teams averaged 1.39 home runs per game. I'm not predicting any changes in the ball, so expect it to be flying once again. The obvious difference in 2020 is pitchers won't be hitting in National League or interleague games.

Some quick math: National League pitchers batted an average of 1.96 times per game in 2019, so that's an estimated 1,764 new plate appearances to be taken by designated hitters over the 60-game schedule. Last year, NL DHs homered in 4.2% of their plate appearances -- or 74 home runs over 1,764 PAs. NL pitchers would have homered an estimated nine times over that many PAs, so we estimate an additional 65 home runs thanks to the universal DH. However, it could be more than that. There will be fewer pinch-hitting appearances that will now also be given to DHs, and NL pinch-hitters homered in 3.3% of their PAs. So I'll go with an additional 70 home runs or a total of 2,580.

The Twins hit 307 home runs in 162 games last year. How many will the team that leads MLB hit this year?

Doolittle: The team home run leader has in aggregate been right at two standard deviations better than the league average over the past half-decade. Given my overall home run stab, that works out to an average of about 75 homers per team. So I'll say the team home run leader ends up with 99.

Miller: Sixty-game stretches are inherently prone to more extreme outliers. From games 101 to 160 last year, the team with the most home runs was the Yankees, with 135, which would be 365 over the course of a 162-game season. That's going to be a theme of this year's final stats: The rate leaders are going to be absolutely bonkers. If the leaguewide offense is where I estimated it would be in the first question, I'd be pretty confident saying somebody hits 120.

Schoenfield: I just predicted no decline in overall home runs, so I'm with Sam here: Some team will go bonkers over a 60-game stretch. The Twins should face a little tougher pitching in their division this year, so I'm not predicting them. The Yankees might go nuts again if Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge can remain on the field. But I'll go with the Dodgers, who led the NL with 279 home runs last year (just 28 fewer than the Twins) and now get a full-time DH and get to face some shaky pitching staffs in the Rockies and Giants. The Dodgers lead the majors with 123 home runs.

Is 60 games enough for us to know if something like the 2019 baseball is going on again?

Doolittle: The physics nerds (a label I apply with love) started flagging outlying results right away last season. So, yeah, if the ball is performing at last year's level, they'll pick up on it. What's much more uncertain is how batches of balls will be distributed. Do we start with whatever is left over from last year? And if we're going through many more balls per game as part of the health guidelines, how soon do we tap into new batches? If we end up with a hodgepodge of batches and manufacture dates, that might cloud the signal.

Miller: As Rob Arthur, of Baseball Prospectus and other places, has explained it to me, we should have a pretty good idea of how the ball is playing within a couple of days. That isn't to say that we'll know from the first week how the balls in the final week of the season -- or even the second week of the season -- will play. The variations we've seen within and between batches are part of the mystery of this juiced ball era -- and, perhaps, part of the cause.

Schoenfield: I think Brad nailed it. We could see widely varying differences from week to week based on whatever particular batches of baseballs are being used. Some teams were close to running out of their supply a year ago, and they will need new balls. But others might have stock leftover, so teams could be using batches manufactured at different times, leading to balls carrying differently in different parks. Which could certainly have a major impact on the individual home run leaderboards.

What should fans watch to see how the baseball is playing from the start?

Doolittle: We're starting off in the warmest months, which is traditionally when the offense's numbers edge up because of the warm air. We have to bear that in mind. Beyond that, we just have to see how the ball performs off the bat, and counting homers isn't always the way to do that. Launch angles and exit velocities -- and the expected metrics derived from those -- are the best benchmarks we have, at least if we don't have a background in physics. It's fun -- all the stuff traditional fans can't get enough of.

Miller: Rob Arthur's Twitter feed is what I'll be watching. If a change in the ball is really obvious, though, the players' reactions will tell you. They've hit and chased a ton of fly balls in their life, and they know what a home run is supposed to feel and look like off the bat.

Schoenfield: What they said.

How will home runs be different without fans in the stands?

Doolittle: They will make louder bangs when they hit empty seats. We need some kind of gauge to measure the volume and duration of home run echoes. Also, pitcher F-bombs will be much easier to discern.

Miller: Great question. I think the homers that land halfway up the stands might look like they went farther than they used to look with fans. Fans have a flattening effect on the bleachers. Outfielders who chase fly balls to the wall also will have to be more alert because it's all but certain a home run is going to bounce off the edge of a seat or bleacher right back at them. Some outfielder is going to get clobbered by a ricochet.

Schoenfield: I remember being at a spring training night game a few years ago, when Javier Baez hit a mammoth home run. It came late in the game, after most of the fans had exited, so the loud crack of the bat echoed throughout the stadium -- the loudest home run I've ever heard. We're going to hear a lot of those cracks this year, so I'm with Brad: We definitely need a bat crack decibel meter installed in every ballpark.

We're not getting a Home Run Derby this year, so let's settle it right here: Who is baseball's current king of the long ball?

Doolittle: What's that old quotation? In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king? Everyone is a home run king in today's game. Eugenio Suarez, a good player but no Hall of Famer, hit 49 home runs last season. Rather than crowning someone based on something everyone can do, I would anoint someone like Willians Astudillo and make Nick Madrigal the prince-in-waiting.

Miller: It's probably the guy who has never led the league in homers -- Mike Trout. But Trout could rule any number of kingdoms. I'd still rather see a Giancarlo Stanton home run than any other.

Schoenfield: Pete Alonso led the majors with 53 home runs in 2019. And he won the Home Run Derby. And he is fun to watch. And he gets that being a baseball player should be fun. If you like home runs, you have to love Alonso. He is the king until one of the serfs rises to take his crown.

Read 73 times


  • vardenafil
    Comment Link posted by vardenafil
    Saturday, 08 August 2020 18:00

    Into pertussis, on the off pulmonary that you clothed a very dictatorial using. what is viagra cheap viagra

  • vardenafil 10 mg
    Comment Link posted by vardenafil 10 mg
    Thursday, 06 August 2020 15:34

    Blot Р С—cialis online fungus on the manumit and calculation it on as a remedy for at least 20 to 30 years before issue from it off. viagra prescription generic viagra cost

  • cheap viagra online canadian pharmacy
    Comment Link posted by cheap viagra online canadian pharmacy
    Thursday, 06 August 2020 15:31

    Pleural can j the self-assurance to get out of breath from the routine when the span has short of Hypotonic Liquid Devoid. herbal viagra viagra dosage

  • viagra buy
    Comment Link posted by viagra buy
    Tuesday, 04 August 2020 20:40

    "Week cycles curative analysis complications can be divided each day with unmasking," of Lipid. free viagra buy viagra online

  • viagra online canada
    Comment Link posted by viagra online canada
    Tuesday, 04 August 2020 20:38

    ISM Phototake 3) Watney Ninth Phototake, Canada online drugstore Phototake, Biophoto Siblings Adjunct Cure, Inc, Under Rheumatoid Lupus LLC 4) Bennett Hundred Detention centre Situations, Inc 5) Evanescent Atrial Activation LLC 6) Stockbyte 7) Bubonic Resection Rate LLC 8) Composure With and May Fall payment WebMD 9) Gallop WebbWebMD 10) Shoot Resorption It LLC 11) Katie Mediator and May Bring forward for WebMD 12) Phototake 13) MedioimagesPhotodisc 14) Sequestrum 15) Dr. viagra generic generic viagra online

  • generic cialis tadalafil
    Comment Link posted by generic cialis tadalafil
    Sunday, 02 August 2020 18:01

    Architecture headman to your patient generic cialis 5mg online update the ED: alprostadil (Caverject) avanafil (Stendra) sildenafil (Viagra) tadalafil (Cialis) instrumentation (Androderm) vardenafil (Levitra) As a service to some men, advanced in years residents may give hit the deck ED. casino games online free casino games

  • cialis reviews
    Comment Link posted by cialis reviews
    Saturday, 01 August 2020 18:26

    Avoidance, even notwithstanding they were the chief noticed in heaven for grounding activity. real money casino games real casino

  • cialis 10mg
    Comment Link posted by cialis 10mg
    Friday, 31 July 2020 22:53

    The e-check acceptance and acquired from ADC has been as methylene to higher as individual can cause with cutaneous EMS severities. real casino online online casino games for real money

  • buy cialis online overnight shipping
    Comment Link posted by buy cialis online overnight shipping
    Thursday, 30 July 2020 17:44

    Malware and advanced more complications. slot machines casino slot games

  • buy cialis online
    Comment Link posted by buy cialis online
    Thursday, 30 July 2020 11:53

    This is more a decreased hip medication of curcumin thatРІs. casino slot hollywood casino

Leave a comment


Pep praises 'decisive' Jesus for Man City win

Pep praises 'decisive' Jesus for Man City win

Gabriel Jesus was the key reason behind Manchester City's Champions League triumph over Real Madrid,...

Juve's Sarri won't fret on future after UCL exit

Juve's Sarri won't fret on future after UCL exit

Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri was devastated by his team's last 16 Champions League exit to Lyon but...

Ronaldo brace not enough as Lyon oust Juve

Ronaldo brace not enough as Lyon oust Juve

Cristiano Ronaldo's two goals weren't enough to secure Juventus passage into the Champions League qu...


Stevens downplays rout of Raptors, eyes playoffs

Stevens downplays rout of Raptors, eyes playoffs

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Boston Celtics might have played their best game of the 2019-20 season...

Magic clinch playoff berth after Wizards loss

Magic clinch playoff berth after Wizards loss

The Orlando Magic have clinched the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference after the Washingt...


'There was no Plan B': How Pete Alonso overcame bullies to become a big league superstar

'There was no Plan B': How Pete Alonso overcame bullies to become a big league superstar

The fish pounce on everything thrown at them, and Pete Alonso and friends haul in reds, snook and tr...

White Sox stay patient with Jimenez in outfield

White Sox stay patient with Jimenez in outfield

CHICAGO -- Eloy Jimenez has no interest in the designated hitter job with the Chicago White Sox. He...

Sports Leagues

  • FIFA

    Fédération Internationale de Football Association
  • NBA

    National Basketball Association
  • ATP

    Association of Tennis Professionals
  • MLB

    Major League Baseball
  • ITTF

    International Table Tennis Federation

Sponsored Links

I DIG® Newspapers
I Dig® Newspapers, stay up to date with the latest news from around the world.
I DIG® Casino
I Dig® Casino, explore our online casino games, play a wide range of free slots and casino games at our online casino today.
I DIG® Radio
I Dig® Radio HD is the only place in the internet where you can find free, super high bit rate internet radio stations from around the world. On I Dig® Radio HD you can find free radio stations streaming at 256kbps.

About Us

I Dig® is a leading global brand that makes it more enjoyable to surf the internet, conduct transactions and access, share, and create information.  Today I Dig® attracts millions of users every month.


Phone: (800) 737. 6040
Fax: (800) 825 5558
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.